IN-STORE EVENTS at HOUSMANS
We regularly have a variety of events in the shop, and are always welcome for suggestions from authors, artists and campaigners who want to use the shop for evening events. Past events include talks, book signings, film screenings, art exhibitions and musical performances.
PART OF ISLINGTON BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Defend the Right to Protest present
‘The Killing of Blair Peach, Anti-Racist Protest and Police Brutality’
with David Renton and Tony Warner
Wednesday 15th October, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase
Blair Peach was a 33 year old teacher killed on a demonstration on 23 April 1979 at Southall against the National Front. He is one of just three protesters to have been killed by the police in Britain since 1945. He died from a single blow to his head by a police officer, as Peach was retreating from a protest which had finished.
In 2010, following Ian Tomlinson’s death, the government published the Cass report into Peach’s killing. Cass identified the six police officers who were present when the fatal blow was struck, and recommended that three of them should be prosecuted for obstructing his enquiry. The Cass report was never disclosed to the Inquest into Peach’s death, and its central reports were kept hidden for 30 years from the jury, from the press, and from Blair Peach’s family.
David Renton will be discussing his new pamphlet ‘Who Killed Blair Peach’ (published by Defend the Right to Protest, 2014) which sets out why exactly Cass reached his conclusions, how his reasoning casts a light on the identity of Peach’s killer, and calls for a fresh inquest into Blair Peach’s killing.
David will be joined by founder of ‘Black History Walks’ Tony Warner who will consider contemporary cases of police racism and brutality. Using archive footage, newspaper reports and personal testimony Tony will cover cases of black deaths in custody from 1960s to the present day, with relation to geography, community resistance, international history and white media representation of the 'black body'.
About the speakers
David Renton a barrister and a member of the committees of Defend the Right to Protest and the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.
Tony Warner is a historian and founder of ‘Black History Walks’.
PRE-ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR EVENT
PM Press present:
‘Working Class Culture’
with John Barker, Robb Johnson and Leon Rosselson
Friday 17th October, 7pm
THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED!! If you haven't received a confirmation email you won't be able to get in.
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase
Political singer-songwriters Robb Johnson and Leon Rosselson are joined by author and activist John Barker to perform their work, and discuss the politics of working class culture.
John Barker is perhaps best known for being one of four Angry Brigade members sentenced to 10 years in prison for a series of insurrectionary bombings in 1972. He worked as a dustman and welder before being implicated in a conspiracy to import cannabis in 1986. In 1990 he was finally arrested and served a five-year sentence.
John has gone on to write ‘Bending the Bars: Prison Stories of an Angry Brigade Member’ (ChristieBooks, 2007) and this year PM Press have published ‘Futures’, from which John will be reading on the night. Originally written more than 20 years ago it tells the story of Carol, a young single mother and drug dealer, Gordon, a "tasty", self-regarding old-school London gangster, and two coke-snorting financial analysts, Phil and Jack, who entertain a fantasy of a cocaine futures market. Their internal lives are described in a richly original, cliche-free style and the book is remarkably prescient.
Robb Johnson is a musician and songwriter, who has been called "one of the last genuinely political songwriters", and is known for his mix of political satire and wit.
Johnson began his musical career playing in folk clubs in the 1970s and ran a folk club at the University of Sussex, before forming a band called Grubstreet, which split up in 1983. Two years later he made his first solo album - In Amongst the Rain - setting up his own label on which to release it, before forming an agitprop group, The Ministry of Humour, with Mark Shilcock and Graham Barnes. After the break-up of this act and a failed attempt at forming a new electric band, he returned to performing solo and also formed a duo with female singer Pip Collings.
In 1997 he composed the song cycle Gentle Men, based on the experiences of his grandfathers in the First World War. The song cycle was recorded by Johnson in collaboration with Roy Bailey, and performed at the commemorative Passchendaele Peace Concert. In 2006 he was a special guest at the BBC's "Folk Britannia" concert at the Barbican Centre, ending the night with a rendition of World War I song "Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire". He remains active and has released at least one album annually for over 20 years, as well as playing regular gigs, including benefits and political events.
"There is no songwriter to compare with Robb Johnson operating in the UK" – Radio 2
Leon Rosselson: After his early involvement in the folk music revival in Britain, he came to prominence, singing his own satirical songs, in the BBC's topical TV programme of the early 1960s, That Was The Week That Was. He toured Britain and abroad, singing mainly his own songs and accompanying himself with acoustic guitar.
In later years, he has published 17 children's books, the first of which, Rosa's Singing Grandfather, was shortlisted in 1991 for the Carnegie Medal.
His song The World Turned Upside Down has been recorded and popularised by, amongst others, Dick Gaughan and Billy Bragg (who took it into the pop charts in 1985) and has been sung on numerous demonstrations in Britain and the USA.
His Ballad of a Spycatcher, ridiculing the ban on Peter Wright's book, went into the Indie Singles charts in 1987 in a version backed by Billy Bragg and the Oyster Band.
‘Mulk Raj Anand’s Across the Black Waters : remembering Indian soldiers in WW1’ with Alistair Niven
Wednesday 22nd October, 7pm
“This re-publication of Mulk Raj Anand’s 'Across the Black Waters' brings back into focus a writer of astonishing range and profound humanity. No other Indian writer in the 1930s thought to memorialise the contribution of Indian soldiers to the First World War, which had ended only twenty years before.
Anand wrote the book partly as a warning against another war. He was living in England at the time, where he could see close up how Europe was drifting back to the hostilities which only exhaustion, and political transformations in so many of the warring countries, had terminated in 1918. Anand had also recently witnessed the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. Another world war would be the same, only writ much larger.” Alistair Niven
Please join Man Booker Prize judge Alistair Niven for an evening to discuss the politics of Indian soldiers involvement in the First World War, as explored in Mulk Raj Anand’s recently republished classic book on the subject, ‘Across the Black Waters’.
Mulk Raj Anandand the World Peace Movement
Mulk Raj Anand has been connected with the World Peace Movement since its beginnings in 1948 at a meeting of world intellectuals. He has often expressed the belief that he would be very much less a writer if he didn’t devote himself almost 90% to the quest for Peace.
In collaboration with other Indian Writers he helped organise the first All India Progressive Writers Conference in Lucknow in 1936. The essence of their manifesto was the inclusion of social and political cause in the inspiration behind their fictions and facts.
By the end of the mid thirties his feelings, combined with the struggle against British Imperialism with which he was already involved, led him to join the fight against fascism. In London in 1936 he was on the platform of the Anti Fascist Writers Conference, alongside such writers as Malraux.
His wish to support the Spanish liberal cause sent him to Spain in 1937 for another conference with Stephen Spender, Pablo Neruda, Ernest Hemingway and others. He returned to India in 1945 and worked with Nehru in The Indian Freedom Movement. About that time he explains:
“To me the idea of political freedom in India was always only a stepping stone towards that larger freedom of the whole world. As Gandhi used to say, “Let all the winds of the world blow in; let us open our doors and windows and only see that we are not swept off our feet by these winds.” There is so much knowledgeIcoming from all parts of the world that so much more interchange, a new consciousness, must take placeIthis means that prejudices against other ways of thought must stop. My idea of co-existence is co-discovery.”
He returned to England in 1948 where he received the invitation to attend that first conference of intellectuals in Warsaw, out of which was born the World Peace MovementIfor which he was Nehru’s representative. In 1952 he received the International Peace Award and became for a time the head of the cultural division of the World Peace Council.
'From Socialist Korea to Ferguson:
connecting Asian and Black radical legacies and solidarity'
Marcel Cartier in conversation with Sukant Chandan
Thursday 23rd October, 7pm
"The people of Ferguson have herocially stood up in the face of brutal repression, resisting the police in the streets in the aftermath of yet another young black man having been gunned down by law enforcement. Amongst many other Global South governments, North Korea took a definite stand with the protesters, comdemning the human rights situation of the U.S. and the racism of its system.
The ties between North Korea and the black power movement in the U.S. are nothing new, and go back to a powerful relationship that was built with the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. Join us to explore the internationalist ties between North Korea and the black liberation movement, with speakers from the Ferguson struggle as well as eye witness accounts from Korea." Sukant Chandan
Marcel Cartier is a formerly New York-based anti-imperialist socialist activist and radical Rapper, now London-based working with the Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform as well as involved in media activism
WAR RESISTERS’ INTERNATIONAL PRESENT
‘Nonviolent Campaigning’ with Jungmin Choi, Andrew Dey, Cattis Laska, Hulya Ucpinar, Christine Schweitzer
Saturday 25th October, 6.30pm
Launch of second edition of WRI's 'Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns' (WRI, 2014, £7)
War Resisters' International launches the second edition of its Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns. The handbook is a selection of methods, tools, and experiences of using nonviolence to create tangible, long-lasting change in situations of violence and oppression. While our movements are diverse, we all share the common goal of challenging violence and oppression in our communities.
Campaigners against extractive industries in South America, community nonviolence trainers in Kenya, and activists blocking nuclear convoy routes in Germany all share as a common theme: they struggle against a form of violence, and to do this they build their movement's power and enter into nonviolent conflict.
Hosted by WRI, the evening will share stories of contributors to the handbook from Turkey, South Korea, Sweden, Germany and the UK
- Jungmin Choi of World Against War in South Korea, involved in the movement against the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island
- Hulya Ucpinar of the Nonviolence Research Center in Turkey
- Cattis Laska of Ofog a Swedish antimilitarist network in Sweden involved in queer and antimilitarist actions
- Christine Schweitzer: Chair of WRI
- Andrew Dey: Handbook editing coordinator involved in Action AWE, campaign against the renewal of Trident.
‘The New Radicals:
the struggle against apartheid in 1970s South Africa’
with Glenn Moss
Monday 27th October, 7pm
Glenn Moss recounts how a new wave of radical ideas helped fuel the anti-apartheid struggle through the hard times of the 1970s.
By the end of the 1960s opposition to apartheid was in disarray. Yet in the space of a few short years, major and radical challenges developed that would set South Africa on a new path. This lively and original book tells the story of a generation of activists who embraced new forms of opposition politics that would have profound consequences. In the process it rescues the early 1970s from previous neglect and shows just how crucial these years were in the struggle to transform society. It explores the influence of Black Consciousness, the new trade unionism, radicalisation of students on both black and white campuses, the Durban strikes, and Soweto 1976, and concludes that these developments were largely the result of home-grown initiatives, with little influence exercised by the banned and exiled movements for national liberation.
“Fascinating and important insight into the emergence of a brave young radicalism of the early 1970s embracing white campuses, black consciousness and trade unionism, which raised questions and challenges not only for the apartheid-capitalist nexus but also for the mainstream liberation movement. Looking back, there is much need for honest reflection and the author does us a service with his well-worked research and writing. It leaves one with tantalising thoughts as to whether the incipient democratic left challenges from civil society and trade union circles in South Africa today might fundamentally change our political landscape.” - Ronnie Kasrils, chief of intelligence for Umkhonto we Sizwe and government minister from 1994 to 2008
Glenn Moss was a student leader at Wits University in the 1970s. Detained and charged under security legislation in the mid-1970s, he was acquitted after a year-long trial. He went on to edit Work In Progress and the South African Review, head Ravan Press, and then work as a consultant to South Africa’s first post-apartheid government.
‘The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s’ by Glenn Moss
Jacana Media (2014)
PART OF ISLINGTON BLACK HISTORY MONTH
‘Who was Henry Muoria?’ with Peter Muoria
Wednesday 29th October, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase
A discussion of the life of Henry Muoria, Kenyan political thinker, writer, and activist, who published pamphlets and newspapers that were highly influential in the anti-colonial struggle of Kenya in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and whose radicalism stood in contrast to the relative conservatism of Jomo Kenyatta, who became Kenya's first President.
Henry Muoria spent much of his later life living in Islington, as his life became increasingly under threat in the ferment of the oppressive regime at home. Henry’s son, Peter Muoria, co-author of book ‘Writing for Kenya: the Life and Works of Henry Muoria’, will share his insights into the family and political life and legacy of his courageous father.
PERFORMANCE, DISCUSSION & MUSIC
Forces Watch and Veterans for Peace present:
‘Confronting a Culture of Militarism’
with Steve Pratt, David Gee, Jim Radford and Walter Heaton
Monday 3rd November, 7pm
Free Entry but donations to Forces Watch and Veterans for Peace will be appreciated.
In the run up to Remembrance Sunday, Forces Watch and VFP UK invite you to an evening of performance, discussion and music.
Steve Pratt is an artist and former SAS soldier. ‘About the Making of a Dangerous Individual’ is a powerful spoken word performance based on Steve’s childhood, service in the army and afterwards. The performance is backed by an atmospheric solo guitar.
In his new book, ‘Spectacle, Reality, Resistance: Confronting a culture of militarism’, published by ForcesWatch, David Gee takes a fresh look at a culture of militarism in Britain, exploring these dynamics – distance, romance, control – in three essays, accompanied by three shorter pieces about the cultural treatment of war and resistance to the government’s increasingly prodigious efforts to regain control of the story we tell ourselves about war. David Gee will be joined by Ben Griffin of Veterans For Peace to explore what the public act of remembrance has become and how we can challenge the militarism it represents. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
Jim Radford is the youngest surviving veteran of D-Day and has been active in the peace movement for over 50 years. Jim will tell stories and sing songs inspired by his experience in the Royal Navy and the peace movement. Jim is a member of Veterans For Peace.
Walter Heaton served with the British Army in Malaya and was active in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. Walter will tell stories and sing a few songs inspired by his experiences.
'Did You Ever Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows?' with former Weatherman Jeff Laster
Wednesday 12th November, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase
The Weather Underground Organization (WUO), commonly known as the Weather Underground, was an American radical left organisation founded on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan. Originally called Weatherman, the group became known colloquially as the Weathermen.
Weatherman organized in 1969 as a faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) composed for the most part of the national office leadership of SDS and their supporters. Their goal was to create a clandestine revolutionary party for the overthrow of the U.S. government.
With revolutionary positions characterised by black power and opposition to the Vietnam War, the group conducted a campaign of bombings through the mid-1970s and took part in actions such as the jailbreak of Dr.Timothy Leary. The "Days of Rage", their first public demonstration on October 8, 1969, was a riot in Chicago timed to coincide with the trial of the Chicago Seven. In 1970, the group issued a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government.
To mark the Weatherman's 45th anniversary former Weatherman Jeff Laster will discuss whether Weatherman (and other violent protest groups such as Red Army/Red Brigades/Angry Brigade/Class War) were ever truly relevant to radical political change or, as Jeff puts it, “were they just a bunch of Che Guevera wannabee kids”?
Various books on Weatherman/Weather Underground will be on sale.
'Bhopal: Facing 30' with Francesca Moore and Colin Toogood
Wednesday 19th November, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase
‘Bhopal: Facing 30’ is the culmination of a photographic project that portrays the site of the 1984 Bhopal disaster and the people that continued to be affected, with the book being produced to commemorate the 30th anniversary.
On the night of the 2nd December 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. None of the six safety systems designed to contain such a leak were operational, allowing the gas to spread throughout the city of Bhopal. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at the plant site.
The first part of the project depicts the entire boundary wall of Union Carbide, the disaster site. Supposedly creating a barrier between what is safe, and what is not, the images expose the level of the walls degradation, which allows easy access to toxins harmful to human health and the environment. There are cavernous holes in the wall at ground level, steps and ledges that lead up and over the wall, security gates left open, parts where the wall is only knee high. The perimeter wall has rows and rows of residents’ houses backing on to it. Children clamber over the wall or pass through the holes – getting to what appears an appealing grassy spot for a game of cricket. Photographed from a child’s height, who cannot see the dangers of the abandoned factory within, each image of the wall joins the next, forming a continuum when presented.
Whilst the wall represents 30 years of pain and suffering, the residents surrounding the contaminated site appeared to be resilient and optimistic. To reflect this perception, the wall is presented with a series of formal family portraits of the people who live in the slums that surround the disaster site. The portraits reference the traditional Indian studio portraits usually acquired by wealthy higher castes, and given the opportunity, the people of Bhopal could register their own dignity, values and resilience through the medium of the family portrait.
The people of Bhopal are not victims as a result of their own actions, or simply through poverty; they were subject to a system that facilitated the economic growth of a multinational company, at the expense of life and the environment – as if less important or disposable. For this reason I photographed the families with the belief that they are as good as anyone else – as good as anyone who works for Union Carbide for example, or Dow Chemical, who now own the Union Carbide plant, but refuse responsibility for its liabilities, or the Indian Government; or you or me. Bhopal: Facing 30 represents those people affected, and that continue to be affected to this day 30 years on, not as victims, but as equal humans.
Francesca is a freelance photographer whose personal work stems from interests in people and the environment. With an MSc in Biological Photography and Imaging, Francesca draws on her scientific background to portray humanitarian, social and environmental issues.
Joined by Colin Toogood, campaigns manager for the Bhopal Medical Appeal, Francesca will discuss her work in the context of the on-going saga for justice and environmental remediation 30 years after the worlds’ worst industrial disaster.
'Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self' with Kajsa Ekis Ekman
Thursday 20th November, 7pm
Join us for this rare opportunity to hear Swedish feminist Ekman discuss her polemic on the psychology of sex work, in which she also criticizes the booming surrogacy industry.
In her book ‘Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self’ (Spinifex Press, 2014) Kajsa Ekis Ekman draws on Marxist and feminist analyses to argue that “the Self must be split from the body to make it possible to sell your body without selling yourself. The body becomes sex. Sex becomes a service. The story of the sex worker says: the Split Self is not only possible, it is the ideal”.
Turning to the practice of surrogate motherhood, Kajsa Ekis Ekman identifies the same components: that the woman is neither connected to her own body nor to the child she grows in her body and gives birth to. Surrogacy becomes an extended form of prostitution. In this capitalist creation story, the parent is the one who pays. The product sold is not sex but a baby.
Please join us for a chance to discuss the issues with Kajsa Ekis Ekman. Kasja is a Swedish journalist, writer and activist. She is the author of several works about the financial crisis, women's rights and Marxism. She writes for the major Swedish daily Dagnes Nyheter and is an op-ed columnist at the leftwing daily ETC.
'Poor but Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West' with Agata Pyzik
Wednesday 26th November, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase
Marking 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Agata will be speaking about the continued cultural divide that separates East and West Europe.
The passengers of the low-budget airlines go East for stag parties, and they go West for work; but the East stays East, and West stays West. Caricatures abound - the Polish plumber in the tabloids, the New Cold War in the broadsheets and the endless search for 'the new Berlin' for hipsters.
Against the stereotypes, Agata Pyzik peers behind the curtain to take a look at the secret histories of Eastern Europe and its tortured relations with the West. Neoliberalism and mass migration, post-punk and the Bowiephile obsession with the Eastern Bloc, Orientalism and 'self-colonisation', the emancipatory potentials of Socialist Realism, the possibility of a non-Western idea of modernity and futurism, and the place of Eastern Europe in any current revival of 'the idea of communism' – all are much more complex and surprising than they appear.
Agata’s book ‘Poor but Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West’ (2014, Zero Books) refuses both a dewy-eyed Nostalgia for the 'good old days' and the equally desperate desire to become a 'normal part of Europe', reclaiming instead the idea of an Other Europe.